Report calls for rural car grants

27 July 2000

Report calls for rural car grants

GRANTS should be given to help young people in the countryside buy cars, according to new research.

A report out on Thursday (27 July) from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation urges the government to accept that a car is essential for rural dwellers.

Author professor Mark Shucksmith of Aberdeen University said the report shows that in most rural areas public transport is just not an option.

Instead money from increased fuel duty used to address urban congestion should be channelled back to rural areas to make car ownership easier.

That could be used to help young people with the cost of their first car or the cost of their driving licence or with insurance, Prof Shucksmith told the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme.

People in rural areas are going to have to pay those taxes whatever happens, so it would only be fair for that money to be returned to rural areas to tackle social exclusion.

Money could also be spent on subsidised taxies and dial-a-ride schemes, mobile shops or keeping village shops open.

Prof Shucksmith said this plan could bring in more revenue to the government, as it would bring young people into work, reducing benefits and raising tax revenue.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott announced last week 180bn investment in transport over the next 10 years, including extra funding for rural transport.

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